Qatar’s interest in Manchester United bidding
A bid from Qatar Investment Authority to buy Manchester United in its entirety will come by the end of the week in time for the deadline set by the New York merchant bank selling the club, Telegraph Sport understands.
It marks a major development in the sale of United which the Glazer family have put on the market for around £5 billion. It is not yet clear how Qatar would square ownership of Paris St-Germain and United with Uefa’s rules banning multi-club ownership should they be successful.
QIA is a $450 billion sovereign wealth fund that owns – among others – the Shard building in London and the department store Harrods. It acquired PSG through the subsidiary Qatari Sports Investments in 2011 and has made them one of the most powerful clubs in the world.
The Qatari state put on hold all discussions of bidding for either United or Liverpool, the two clubs put on the market by their American owners at the end of last year, until they had staged the Fifa World Cup finals in November and December. QIA’s involvement changes entirely the picture heading into Friday when the US bank Raine Group has set the deadline for initial bids for the club.
As things stand there is no bidder for United as powerful as the sovereign wealth fund from Qatar created in 2005 to use the wealth generated from the Gulf state’s vast oil and gas reserves to diversify the country’s economy. The only other declared interested party is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s wealthiest individuals. A number of US private equity groups have looked at a full takeover or a minority investment.
As well as PSG and its considerable property investments QIA has stakes in Barclays Bank, the Volkswagen Group and Sainsbury’s to name but a few. The chief executive Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud’s mission statement is to “ensure the prosperity of future generations of Qataris as a world-class investment institution and a positive force for good in the global economy.” view more info about Manchester United Bidding in uksports
UEFA’s view in Manchester United bidding
The key detail will be how Qatar squares any takeover of United with Uefa. There would be no issue with the QIA passing the owners and directors’ test set by the Premier League, which has no current club owned by Qatar. The major hurdle to be cleared would be article five of Uefa regulations which prohibit multi-club ownership or even a stake in more than one club participating in Uefa club competitions.
Uefa stipulates that “no individual or legal entity may have control or influence over more than one club participating in a Uefa club competition”. Nevertheless, a version of the same issue has been overcome before with the Austrian Red Bull energy drink conglomerate.
Red Bull came to an agreement with Uefa to scale back its involvement in the Austrian club it owns, Red Bull Salzburg as a compromise to permit its German club RB Leipzig to compete in the Champions League as well. Both clubs have played in the same competition for the last four years.
Qatar’s potential involvement with two of the biggest clubs in European football would be much more high profile than the Red Bull multi-club project, although it would not be insurmountable. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), that nation’s sovereign wealth fund, proved it was legally distinct from the leadership of the kingdom to the Premier League’s satisfaction in 2021. That was required to demonstrate who would have ultimate control over Newcastle United.
The political landscape in European football remains febrile. Uefa president Aleksandar Ceferin still faces an existential threat to his organisation from the three European Super League Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, with a renewed push last week from the ESL’s sister company A22 Sports Management. While the future of Uefa’s monopoly on European club competitions will be decided this year by the European Court of Justice, the rebellion is unlikely to end there even with a decision in Uefa’s favour. view more info about Manchester United Bidding in uksports.
The key figure in shaping European football’s future now is Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari national who is PSG president, chairman of QSI and chairman of the European Club Association. The ECA effectively shares the power with Uefa in deciding the format of the club competitions and primarily the Champions League. The two entities have a joint venture that controls the commercial income from Uefa competitions.